Going the distance
North Point volleyball falls to Great Mills in five sets
After being thumped by host North Point High School in the fourth set of their match on Wednesday evening, the Great Mills High School volleyball team quickly righted ship and prevailed in the deciding set in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision match.
Great Mills (6-4 overall) dropped the opening set but won the next two before being humbled in the fourth set, resulting in a fifth set needed to break the tie. Although the Hornets had performed poorly in the fourth set and North Point (6-4) attained the momentum, the visitors shook off that game quickly and eventually won the overall match by scores of 21-25, 25-22, 2522, 13-25 and 15-11.
“Between the fourth and fifth games I basically told the girls they had been working hard all night, so did they want to work hard and win the match or walk away with a loss,” Great Mills coach Bill Plotner said.
“The fifth game is only to 15, so there’s not much room for error. We had to just go back and run our offense and it ended up with our libero getting the ball to our setter who got the ball to our best hitter.”
Great Mills junior setter Lauren Heibel had done a superb job getting the ball to her outside hitters through the first three sets, but the Hornets struggled in the fourth set and North Point ended that one with freshman Bailey Davis reeling off seven straight service winners prolonged by Great Mills attack errors, including one that ended the set and forced a fifth.
The fifth mirrored the first three as the teams traded sideout points and were tied eight times, with the latest being 1010. That’s when Heibel went back to serve for the second
time in the set and the junior gave the visitors some breathing room with three straight winners, aided by two North Point attack errors. Then at match point Heibel set senior outside hitter Caley Neville for a kill that ended it.
“That fourth game we just got flustered,” Heibel said. “I think we got frustrated with the calls and we just weren’t playing well. But that fifth game we settled down and ran our plays. We still have some tough matches left and we’re looking forward to facing Leonardtown. I thought North Point played well. They were better than we expected.”
North Point first-year head coach Sara Young dedicated Wednesday’s “Dig Pink” match to a friend, Joyce Washington, who passed away two years ago after a prolonged battle with breast cancer. Young admitted the youthful Eagles had played to their fullest potential on Wednesday, actually outscoring Great Mills, 105-99, despite losing
the match in five sets.
“I thought our girls played really well,” Young said. “But their setter [Heibel] was phenomenal. She did a great job running the floor for them. We fought hard all the way to the end. We still have to work on defense, serve-receives. But we’re young with three freshmen starting and we only have two seniors and mostly juniors.”
North Point’s Kinsey Polk gave the Eagles a 19-12 lead in the opener, but a service runs from Neville brought the Hornets even at 20. But the Eagles regained the advantage on a service run from libero Madison Meade and later ended the first set when Davis delivered a ser vice ace.
Both the second and third sets followed along similar paths with neither team gaining a distinct advantage. In fact, the second set was tied on eight occasions and as late as 22-all before the Hornets finally prevailed by scoring the last three points.
The third set was tied on five occasions early and as late as 16-all before a service run by Neville gave the Hornets some breathing room at 24-19 and the Eagles never got even as the visitors withstood a late surge by the hosts to take that set and claim a two games to one lead in the match.
North Point promptly scored the first four points of the fourth set and led 10-2 and 16-8 before Great Mills rallied behind a service run from Bryce Harden to get within 16-12. But the Eagles shook off that challenge and scored the game’s final eight points, getting the last seven with Davis serving well and the Hornets struggling to run their attack.
North Point is next scheduled to be in action at home versus Lackey at 5:30 p.m. Monday, while Great Mills travels to Calvert for a 5:30 p.m. match Monday.
“It was a really good match,” said Davis, who also plays golf
for the school. “It just came down to which team was able to pass the ball better in the fifth set. Great Mills has a really good team with a lot of experienced players. We’re still really young with mostly juniors and me and two other freshmen starting.”
La Plata clinches Potomac
The Warriors knocked off Westlake in three sets on Wednesday to complete its SMAC Potomac Division action for the 2017 season, wrapping up the division title.
La Plata (8-2, 6-0 SMAC Potomac) won all six of its division matches in three-set sweeps.
The Warriors will play for the conference championship scheduled for Oct. 30 versus the SMAC Chesapeake Division champion. They have three more matches remaining before then, the first hosting Huntingtown at 5:30 p.m. Monday.